Scripture: Mark 2:3-4.
A message preached in Kilskeery Free Presbyterian Church,
Lord’s Day 18th February, 2018 by Rev Ivan Foster (Rtr)
Stream or download The difficulty of bringing sinners to Christ
The name ‘Capernaum’ means “Village of Comfort” and it proved that to this unnamed man whose friends were so faithful and diligent in getting him to Christ for His blessing.
When the Lord Jesus comes to a place it cannot remain a secret. His presence will be known. “And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them,” Mark 2:2.
Christ can stir up in the hearts of men a glorious interest in Himself!
We are told here of 4 men who saw an opportunity to do good to their friend. “And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four,” verse 3.
Palsy was a form of paralysis often accompanied with tremors and convulsions. It resulted in a state of helplessness. It took 4 men to help him as he could not help himself at all. This was no partial paralysis but rather a general utter disability.
This man is a picture of a sinner in his natural state, who is insensible of his condition, of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, of his danger and misery to which he is exposed, of his lost and undone condition, of his necessity of the new birth, and of his need of salvation by Jesus Christ.
He has no power to come to Christ for life and salvation and as his friends took him, and brought him to Christ, so it becomes the friends, relations and neighbours of unregenerate persons to be concerned for them and to bring them under the means of grace. There they may be brought to a sense of their sins and a view of the free and full forgiveness of them through the mercy and power of the Lord Jesus.
We may learn from the actions of these men.
I. THESE MEN WERE INFORMED ABOUT THE LOCATION OF CHRIST
1. They were not indifferent or uninterested in the affairs of Christ! All too many Christians are more interested in the business activities than they are in the affairs of the Kingdom of God. Hag 1:3-6, John 6:27.
2. Their ears were tuned to reports of Christ’s movements. “It was noised that he was in the house.” They heard that “noise”!
3. They immediately saw the opportunity presented to help their friend. His need was uppermost in their hearts. These men used their time and strength to bring this man to Christ. Oh to be alive to the needs of others and the danger their souls are in! Hell opens at their feet and they are helpless to escape! “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ,” Gals 6:2; Rom 15:1; John 13:14.
4. Note the word ‘straightway’. They acted immediately!
II. THEIRS WAS A CONCERTED EFFORT
1. They would have received no help from their paralysed friend. In this he pictures the unconverted sinner. John 5:40. Refusal of Naaman!
2. They acted jointly and energetically. They must have been amongst the first to react to the news of Christ’s presence. What good can be done by such a holy partnership! Christian, seek out the company and friendship of such!
“A threefold cord is not quickly broken,” Ecclesiastes 4:12.
3. They immediately ran into difficulties. No good can be done in this world without opposition. How often the crowd present a difficulty! The difficulty of getting their friend to the house, not any negligence on their part, slowed them up so that others were there before them.
4. Their determination is seen in how they overcame the formidable problem. The crowd can hinder. “They uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay,” 4.
5. The cooperation of the owner and cost to the 4 friends should be noted. The roof was seriously damaged and would have to be repaired.
Nothing is more important than the salvation of a soul!
III. NOTE WHAT IT WAS CHRIST OBSERVED.
1. Jesus saw their faith. Verse 5. “I will shew thee my faith by my works,” James 2:18. The faith of the 4 men not of the sick man. Everything they did, the carrying of the man, the removal of the roof and all that entailed, spoke of their faith to Christ.
2. Christ also saw the chief need of the man. “Jesus . . . .said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.” The palsy was bad but unpardoned sins are immeasurably worse!
3. Forgiveness of sin is neither earned nor deserved. Rather it is bestowed by the grace of Christ. The man did nothing, not even speaking a word!
4. Please notice that the forgiveness of sins was not all that Christ bestowed upon the man. That is a most wonderful blessing but there was more. Our lifetime and our eternity will be filled with the more that follows!
Christ’s healing of the man was in order to demonstrate His power and authority to forgive sins! He demonstrated that He was God.
It is with God we have to do if we are to have forgiveness of sin! Not Mary or the saints or the church or our works! The scribes were correct when they said: “Who can forgive sins but God only?” Verse 7. But they were blind to the fact that Christ was God!
It is to Him, the God-man, sinners must go for salvation.
5. The happy outcome. The 5 friends would have walked home together, after they had repaired the man’s roof!